Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An old-timer's view of HR Technology Conference

I was reading a first-timer at the HR Tech Conference and it got me thinking about what I saw/learned at my latest event. I've had the pleasure to present the CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey there for six years. Ron Hanscome, who I think is a superb survey person reviewed this year's findings quite well.

First of all, hats off to Bill Kutik and David Shadovitz and the entire LRP/HR Executive team involved in putting this together. Bill, who I think has turned mellow with the advent of Nancy, was a jewel to work with this year from my perspective. And while being mellow, he still put a keen wisdom to getting great speakers, vendors, analysts, bloggers. Truly well done and thank you!

Second: It's always great to attend the special events and dinners -- thanks to Paterson's and absent Naomi Bloom, Kenexa, Oracle, and my colleague David Carter and a treasured client -- but never again will I puff a cigar Len and Michele! Also, for the brief time with the Chicas -- my drinking girl friends and the few guys we "let" join us if they pay. You are the ones that make HR Technology special for me. Elaine Orler and I vow that we will have a grand reunion in Las Vegas! Thank you Naomi for showing us all what is truly important by being with one of your long time friends at her time of need.

Third: Doing the survey for 13 years is a personal labor of love and a gift to our community from CedarCrestone. I appreciate all that respond and especially those that respond to all questions and do so year after year. Please feel free to contact me through hrsystemssurvey@cedarcrestone.com if you have comments or questions.

It is from the perspective of being a broad researcher on HR technology adoption and the value achieved that I'd like to make a few comments about the conference. In the fervor of social networking and the latest/greatest from software companies, there are two types of organizations and their decision makers I don't see at the conference:

1) Sophisticated users that have an advanced HR applications portfolio. By this I mean they have few software vendors and most often have a extensive set of talent management, social networking, and business intelligence practices and technologies built on the same platform as their ERP(Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft). These are the ones I see amongst our survey respondents that are doing the best financially. I think we could learn much from them about topics like talent analytics, workforce lifecycle management, use of SOA to automate processes not covered by existing technologies, and advanced learning and development technology use.

2) Late adopter organizations that have not yet turned to much technology. Their decision makers have not begun to think about social networking except to unwisely ban it; they have no self service; and they actually don't do a very good job of serving their employees. Some may argue they won't be around long as they are so non-innovative, but they've been around for years and we buy/use their products and they will be around for many more years. Think steel companies, some health care, many universities, and more public administration organizations. Can we as a community figure out how to wisely and gently get them involved?

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